LOS ANGELES, January 31, 2013 — On Sunday, the National Football League showcases the two best teams. The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens play in Super Bowl (47) XLVII for the right to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
However, on Saturday, the NFL honors several more retired players as the best of all time. Between four and seven more players will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The induction ceremony will take place the day before the 2013 preseason starts in August.
Fifteen modern-era finalists and two nominations from the Seniors Committee will be argued among 44 selectors in a room where decisions are more secretive than the nuclear football or the Coca Cola formula.
Many of these individuals spent time with more than one team. Only the primary team is mentioned unless Hall of Fame success came with more than one of them.
Here are the nominees:
Larry Allen — Guard/Tackle, Dallas Cowboys
Jerome Bettis — Running back, Pittsburgh Steelers
Tim Brown — Wide receiver, Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders
Cris Carter — Wide Receiver, Minnesota Vikings
Curley Culp — Defensive Tackle/Guard, Kansas City Chiefs, HOuston Oilers (Senior Nominee)
Edward DeBartolo Jr. — Owner, San Francisco 49ers
Kevin Greene — Linebacker/Defensive End, Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles Haley — Defensive End, San Francisco 49ers/Dallas Cowboys
Art Modell — Owner, Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens
Jonathan Ogden — Offensive Tackle, Baltimore Ravens
Bill Parcells — Coach, New York Giants, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys
Andre Reed — Wide Receiver, Buffalo Bills
Dave Robinson — Linebacker, Green Bay Packers (Senior Nominee)
Warren Sapp — Defensive Tackle, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Will Shields — Guard, Kansas City Chiefs
Michael Strahan — Defensive End, New York Giants
Aeneas Williams — Cornerback, Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams
So who gets in? Here are the predictions:
Bill Parcells: Excluding “The Tuna” would be football malpractice. He is the greatest NFL coach since Lombardi. He has been kept out due to politics with some sportswriters disliking his prickly personality and frequent retirements. The man is the epitome of a winner.
He did more than take his teams to three Super Bowls, winning two of them. He took over four bad teams (and a fifth as team president) and made them all winners. His coaching tree includes Bill Bellichick, Tom Coughlin and Sean Payton. Those three men have been to an additional eight Super Bowls, winning six of them. So yes, a man connected to almost one-fourth of all the Super Bowls deserves to get in immediately.
Charles Haley: The man has five Super Bowl rings. He won two of them with the 49ers and three more with the Cowboys. When the Cowboys “stole” him from the 49ers, the balance of power in the NFL shifted. When the 49ers “stole” Ken Norton Jr. from the Cowboys in 1994, it was considered revenge for the Haley signing. His ornery personality has also slowed his entry into the hall, but an entire hand covered in Super Bowl jewelry speaks for itself.
Aeneas Williams: This corner back languished as a standout on one of the worst NFL franchises. The Cardinals have long been sad sacks, but he locked down his half of the field. Near the very end of his career, he was traded to the St. Louis Rams. They had the “Greatest Show on Turf” but a dreadful defense. Williams immediately upgraded that unit as the Rams got back to the Super Bowl again.
Cris Carter: There is a serious glut of wide receivers who are all being downgraded due to the increased modern passing attacks. When Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Andre Reed retired, they were all two, three and four behind Jerry Rice in most categories. Brown made bizarre comments this week about a conspiracy in his lone Super Bowl appearance, a loss. Reed was on the losing end of four Super Bowls. Carter never even reached one, falling one game short twice. Yet NFL Network declared him to have the best hands of all time, and his footwork was fantastic. All three of these receivers deserve to get in, but Carter should get in first.
Jonathan Ogden: He was one of the best tackles in the history of the game. While Ray Lewis led the Ravens’ defense, Ogden anchored an offense under several quarterbacks who will never come anywhere near the Hall of Fame, except to visit him. He was the very first pick in Ravens history. The College Football Hall of Fame already enshrined him, and he lived up to the hype. Will Shields was a distinguished guard, but if one offensive lineman goes in this year, Ogden has to be it.
Curley Culp: He played for the Chiefs during their Super Bowl years and for the Oilers during the “Luv ya Blue” years that twice came up one game short of the Super Bowl. With Buck Buchanan in Kansas City, he terrorized opposing offenses. The other senior nominee Dave Robinson may be delayed because he played for Lombardi’s Packers. It seems like that entire team is already enshrined, and the panel may decide enough is enough for now. Although both men could get in, this year Culp gets the nod.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian who is obsessed with the National Football League. There is no offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”
Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog.
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